A few commenters on my OPUS LIVES post noted that their local papers didn’t carry it. As I was looking (so far without luck) for an online version, I came across this explanation from DMN:

Mr. Breathed and his syndicators are counting on the original strip’s popularity to finesse a bold gamble: Opus will be offered to newspapers in only a half-page format.

The artist has been critical of modern Sunday comics page layout, where newspapers shrink strips so new ones can be added without giving up favorites.”The comics page is slowly suffocating, if not dying,” says Mr. Breathed. “The only way back is to make the funnies again a center of exploration for the country’s best artists.”

“Berkeley wants to put the ‘A’ back in ‘art’ on the comics page,” says Alan Shearer, editorial director at the Washington Post Writers Group, Mr. Breathed’s syndicate.

The larger format, Mr. Shearer says, will make the artwork come alive on the page and “showcase Berkeley’s talent as a painter.” But most newspapers will have to drop two strips to make that much room, and many will balk. (About 160 newspapers will carry Opus for its debut next week.)

This is not the first comeback for Mr. Breathed and his penguin. After he ended Bloom in 1989, the artist took a month off and then returned with Outland. Many newspapers didn’t hold the space during his hiatus, and the new strip, with new settings and characters, never drew the following Bloom County enjoyed.

I will admit that the debut strip was quite nice to look at, although, frankly, he could have gotten his punch line into a three panel format quite easily.

The irony is that there are very few good strips out there. Virtually everyone I know hates the “Mary Worth,” and “Apt. 3-G” type serial strips. “Kathy” is the same joke every time (“Oh, I’m so fat!” Well, lose some weight and shut up. -ed) I didn’t see the Opus strip until an online mention flagged my memory, as I routinely throw the comics section of WaPo into the recycle bin unopened. Aside from Dilbert and Mallard Filmore, there aren’t any strips that I can think of that I miss reading–and I can catch up to those online every now and again.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    The older Bloom County strips were the best, but they were all pretty good. Outland was good, but not as good as Bloom County.

    TV:” Welcome to my Neighborhood. Today We’re going to learn about public service. Can you say Public Servant”
    OPUS:” Bozo”
    TV:” Good, I knew you could”.

    or Binkley, Opus, and Binkley’s Dad thinking.
    “A boy and his penguin”
    “A penguin and his boy”
    “Two dips and a dad”

  2. bryan says:

    I lost interest in Breathed after his first retirement. And this latest blah, blah, blah about Art on the comics page sounds an awful lot like Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame, who actually drew some Art on the Sunday pages and has kept himself retired as well.

  3. Mrs. Limekiller says:

    Opurt is back?

  4. Mrs. Limekiller says:

    Opurt is back?